The secret to standing out in your job search isn't just dazzling an interviewer or crafting the perfect follow-up email — the first step toward landing your dream job is honing your skills.
"Skills are the most important factor when it comes to landing a job right now," LinkedIn career expert Blair Heitmann tells CNBC Make It. "More companies are shifting from traditional measures like degrees and years of experience to skills-based hiring to ensure that they get the most qualified person in the job who can really deliver."
While technical skills are the main criteria hiring managers consider while evaluating a job candidate, soft skills, such as multi-tasking and problem-solving, can also be deal-breakers: An overwhelming majority of employers ― 93% ― say soft skills play a critical role in their hiring decisions, according to ZipRecruiter.
To help job-seekers determine which skills to highlight on their resume, LinkedIn has identified the top 20 skills employers are looking for right now. These skills were featured in more than three-quarters of paid jobs posted globally over the last three months on LinkedIn.
Here are the top 10 skills on that list (see the full report here):
- Customer Service
- Business Development
- Digital Marketing
- Sales Management
- Problem Solving
The skills that employers are looking for, however, are constantly changing: the most in-demand job skills have changed by 25% since 2015 with hard skills including customer service and sales and soft skills like leadership and communication rising to the top, LinkedIn found. That percentage is expected to double in the next five years.
Since the skills that are most in-demand change so often, LinkedIn Learning is also offering free courses in each of the 20 skills for all of September.
It's important to note that job-seekers don't need to include each skill on this list in their application to be successful in their search: A teacher, for example, doesn't necessarily need accounting skills to land a job, just as a financial analyst might not need to be skilled at digital marketing.
Still, it's smart to think about which skills are in-demand within the industries you are interested in, Heitmann says, by studying job descriptions, reading companies' career pages or setting up networking calls with people in those fields and asking them which skills they've found to be most helpful in their position.
In addition to including these sought-after skills on your resume and LinkedIn profile, Heitmann encourages job-seekers to mention examples of putting these skills into practice during an interview. For example, you could explain how mastering a skill helped you solve a difficult problem at work, or how certain skills you've developed would help you excel at the duties of the role you're up for.
"The days are over where companies expect you to do one set thing," Heitmann says. "Having a growth mindset, being willing to learn and evolve over the course of your career will really help you become a marketable, competitive job candidate for the rest of your professional life."